Season Preview: Penn Quakers

Penn will look to its underclassmen to help replace the scoring of Rosen and Bernardini this season.

In 2011-12: 20-13, 11-3, 2nd place.

A Look Back: Two words: Zack Rosen. Not much else needs to be said (but I”ll say it anyway). Quaker fans were led on a roller coaster ride last season thanks to one of the greatest individual performances in recent Ivy League history. But let”s first recall that most people did not expect too much from Penn last year. Rosen, Bernardini, and Cartwright were talented guards, but this team had no size and Jerome Allen was in just his second full season as head coach.

Flash forward to February when the Cardiac Quakers were officially born. Rosen kicked off a magical month by nailing a dagger three pointer in the waning seconds to defeat a pesky Dartmouth squad at the Palestra. The next weekend, the Quakers handled Cornell behind 25 from Rosen and followed that up with an overtime to knock off Columbia.

The next weekend was fairy-tale stuff. I”ll simply quote the first line of the AP write-up from Penn”s game at Dartmouth: “Zack Rosen scored 16 of his 27 points in the final 6:50 to lead Pennsylvania over Dartmouth 57-54 Friday night.” Penn”s final 16 points were all from Rosen and it was enough to send the Quakers to Boston with a fighter”s chance at upsetting Harvard”s preordained run for glory. The magic continued as Rosen once again showed his propensity for the clutch, scoring the Quakers final nine points while being closely guarded by everyone Amaker could throw at him. But the game wasn”t in hand until an injured Tyler Bernardini slid under Kyle Casey, drawing a charge and sealing the unlikely victory for Penn.

Penn handled Brown and Yale at home, making the old Princeton rivalry game a championship bout. A win at Old Nassau would send

Rosen and the Quakers to a playoff game rematch versus Harvard, a loss would give the Crimson their first title since 1946. But sadly, the magic ran out on Penn”s season as Princeton defended its home court and relegated the Quakers to the CBI, where they earned one postseason victory before being sent home by Butler. Still, the unexpected excitement of last season won”t be forgotten for a long time.

Players to Watch: Miles Cartwright, Junior– This is Cartwright”s team now and the 6″3″ guard will need to carry this young squad like Rosen did last year if the Quakers are going to come anywhere near the kind of success they saw in “11-“12. He”s a proven scorer who can get to the rim and shoot the deep ball, and we”ll see if he can remain efficient as his usage numbers increase this season.

Tony Hicks, Freshman– Hicks started against UMBC in his first collegiate game and was impressive. He tallied an efficient 13 points on five shots and added three assists and three steals. Much of Penn”s success this season will hinge on how quickly their freshmen can contribute, and Hicks seems primed to be the young guy most likely to see early court time.

Fran

Dougherty, Junior– The 6″8″ forward gives Penn some much-needed size up front. He hasn”t proven himself to be too much of a scorer, but he can finish down low when called upon. Like last year, Dougherty will be expected to clean up the glass, defend, and help provide an occasional interior alternative to the backcourt scorers.

Key Non-Conference Games: November 12 vs. Delaware, November 17 vs. Drexel, December 8 vs. Villanova, January 2 at Butler, January 5 at La Salle, January 19 at St. Joe”s, January 23 at Temple.

Prediction: I”ll cede the floor to our old friend, commenting guru, The Ancient Quaker: “They have a good incoming freshman class with a 270 lb. center (Darien Nelson-Henry, who has apparently lost weight in the preseason… -BM). They also have a highly regarded freshman point guard [Hicks] and a seasoned floor general in Miles Cartwright. However, as I”ve

said before, experience wins titles and unfortunately, they are sorely lacking in this precious commodity. It’s a rebuilding year and the future looks bright in Philly, but alas slightly dim at present. They may surprise a few teams and we’ll see how good a coach Jerome Allen really is in squeezing the last bit of talent out of his young players. Still, I see them finishing in the middle of the pack. (Hey, even Coach Dunphy had a bunch of mediocre teams.) It’s OK though. Thanks to Professor Matthew B. Platt, Assistant Professor of Government at Harvard, The League is wide open.”

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